Long-term Labour MP Ann Coffey has described the Scottish National Party as a ‘nasty strain of nationalism’ after securing her re-election in Stockport last night.
Even though Labour suffered hard losses elsewhere in the country, Ms Coffey bucked the trend to achieve a staggering 49.9% of the vote – an increase of 7.2% from 2010 and double the amount of votes cast for second-place Conservative candidate Daniel Robert Hamilton.
The newly-elected MP, originally from Inverness, admitted that it had not been ‘a good night’ for Labour nationally and did not hold back from criticising the impact of the SNP on their fortunes who took the majority of their seats in Scotland.
She cast shade on the party’s socialist credentials and highlighted problems with the welfare system, specifically criticising their policy of free prescriptions which she said distracted health funding away the neediest.
At the heart of the SNP is a ‘nasty strain of nationalism’, the MP claimed.
Ms Coffey is a strong advocate for House of Lords and electoral reform and believes that the UK should be moving towards a ‘German-style model of consensus politics’.
She stated that ‘democracy only works when it’s part of a broader consensus’, but said for that to happen the British people need to accept there is ‘no such thing as the perfect party’.
Despite being one of few Labour MPs to increase their majority holding on a seat, Ms Coffey was quick to dismiss the opportunity of taking a more active position in front-bench politics.
“It’s not really a role that I want,” she said following the result.
“There could be no greater honour or privilege than representing Stockport though and I promise to do my best to serve their interests.”
Coffey chairs the All Party Parliamentary Group for Runaway and Missing Children and Adults, and has previously criticised perceived failings in the way that authorities respond to signs of abuse and exploitation.
Ms Coffey told MM: “I think that being a member of parliament is a great privilege and enables you to pursue things that are of interest to you and have influence.
“I am very interested in children, very interested in young people, very interested in making sure there’s investment in young people so that they are better protected.”
She highlighted a report she conducted on child sexual exploitation across Greater Manchester for GMP and Crime Commissioner Tony Lloyd, saying: “I think that I can do as a back bench MP, not tied in the way that front benchers are – that’s what I’ll continue to do.”
Ms Coffey has held the Stockport seat since 1992 when she defeated the Conservative incumbent Anthony Favell with a decisive swing of +8.8.
Although the 68-year old expressed her exhaustion with the campaign she did not rule out the potential of standing for an astonishing seventh term.
“When you’ve had a very long hard campaign and a very long night it’s difficult to move forward to the next one with any enthusiasm but I see no reason why I would not stand again,” she said.
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